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U.S. Army Air ForcesSpecial Delivery (1946)

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(titles zoom forward and blast apart into squares over the close-up of an airplane tire speeding down a runway for take-off)

This film celebrates the strength of the Army Air Force by showing many of the different types of military jets and bombers, but mostly through the grandiose and historic event of dropping an atom bomb on Bikini Atoll in Operation Crossroads.

"Special Delivery. The delivery of that which is uncommon. Exceptional in character. Different from others. Special Delivery. Army Air-Force's style is designed for a particular function. But unlike other highly specialized functions is not limited in range, aims, or purposes. During times of war, air power is war power. As destructive as is necessary to destroy the enemy, but AAF planes large and small have more than destructive power. They have constructive power, greatly beneficial to the nation. Thus in times of peace, air power is peace power."

"Special Delivery of America's historic achievements was the destiny of the B-29. For the Army Air Forces next committed the giant B-29 armada to science. Never before had such a mighty target been assembled beneath a bomb site. 73 ships in a 5-mile area, it was a bombardier's dream target. "

"Fully aware of the eyes of the world."

"Youth and years of scientific study combined to test the power of the atom. Young man with war tempered nerves. Steeled in battle, awaited coolly for bomb-away. Learned scientists awaited tensely below to study the effects. As the metronome ticked away the eventful seconds, the world in questioning suspense waited. Unspoken was the question, 'what will happen?' . . ."

"Probably no fleet will ever again be gathered so conveniently for an atomic attacker. But neither would an aggressor nation only use one bomb. Bikini will answer many questions -- the answers will pave the way for more questions. The never-ending stream of questions of the future can only be answered by continuous study today. SCIENCE seeks new research and development. Your air forces in war lead the world in war power. Today in peace it leads the world in peace power. Air power is peace power."

A circle superimposed over the image of planes in flight displays an officer on the phone, telephone operators, a watchtower like some view finder, aiming device.
Soldiers jumping out of a plane.
Close-up shot of soldier's face in free-fall, relieved expression as parachute opens
Distant shot of many parachutes descending
military aircraft -- "the little cub", "helicopters",
"B-25 Mitchell" which used to drop bombs, now sprays DDT to end epidemics
"XF 12" for photo reconnaissance
"XP 84", "small-flying wing", "XB 35"
C-74, one of the world's largest
B-29, aerial shots of it dropping bombs, atom bombs
Close-up shot of name painted on bomber, "Dave's Dream"
Illustration -- aerial map of the location of the Bikini Islands, location of Bikini Atoll,
and the layout of the ships
"58th WING, 59" sign of bombers dropping atomic bomb
Ground crew preparations, including the shaving of sheep and the application of ointment to bare sheep skin
drone planes, controlled by ground crews
Soldiers on ship decks, ducking and covering their faces and heads
Soldiers putting on goggles
Atom bomb blasts, mushroom clouds
Geiger testing for radioactivity
Firefighters hosing down the ships
Scientists looking at radioactivity in lab-type settings
Badly damaged ships
Shadow of a bomber on the ground, shot from above

Good detail on the first Bikini test.

"Air power is peace power." The title refers to the
of duties and uses of military aircraft. From the transportation of food
medical supplies to stranded soldiers to weapons. From warplanes and
helicopters to huge commercial airliners and, inevitably, to the Bikini
atomic bomb test planes. Includes stunning footage of the preparation and
examination of target ships to the Big Bang itself.

This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives

Producer: U.S. Army Air Forces
Sponsor: U.S. Army Air Forces
Audio/Visual: sound, color

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